top The $200,000 Software Developer
The problem with many government development jobs is that you are surrounded by a sea of ignorance and indifference. I've done work for a few agencies, and my guess is that most tech geeks would find it terribly boring. If you can get in, it can be quite stable and generally stress-free from a workload perspective, but the stress of sitting around an office all day almost not even allowed to work started to drive me crazy.
IT in the DC area has an incredibly low bar set. I remember more than a few interviews, I was not asked a single technical question. I actually asked them to ask me some tech questions because it seemed so bizarre. Once you work there, you understand why no one asks.
Granted, I was not making $200k, so a higher salary probably would have made my tolerance better, but it's not the best environment if you are somewhat ambitious.
Since people with security clearances are somewhat rare, it becomes more of the limiting factor rather than skill.
My $.02, others are welcome to disagree.
about a year and a half ago
New Super Mario Bros. 2 Illustrates Nintendo's Greatest Problem
I haven't played a Mario or Nintendo game in a few years, but I found the opening statement kind of surprising:
"To be fair, no one buys a new Mario game looking for a completely new experience."
Is this really the case? Is Nintendo considered more a re-hasher these days? I think part of my surprise is that the first thing that popped into my head when I read that was
Super Mario 64.
top US Missile Defense Staff Told To Stop Watching Porn
I spent some time working with the FAA. The person I replaced had been fired for viewing porn at work. The case was still in litigation up to two years after he was fired, due to the union. I'm not really sure what was being argued, but my manager had to go to hearings every once a while.
I kind of assumed these would be military positions, but the summary mentions employees and contractors, so perhaps that is where the union is getting involved (In the case of employees. Contractors are used in a lot of cases because they are supposed to be easy to replace, at least from what I was told)
top Fastest Growing US Export To China: Education
I've read that part of the motivation for admitting more international students is purely financial... universities can charge more, so they have an incentive to have more international students. For the foreign students, there's a certain level of prestige associated with attending an American university, especially for Asian countries which place some additional importance on English language skills.
So... when does higher education bubble burst? Everyone is expecting it to. It makes no sense that while the economy is tanking, colleges can just continue to charge more money at rates considerably higher than cost of living adjustments...
top Experts Warn Of Possible North Korean Nuclear Test
For those who do not know, Seoul and Pyongyang are actually quite close to each other. They are 120.90 miles/194.56 Kilometers apart. If a major war were to ever happen, the damage to Seoul would be pretty staggering.
top When Social Media Meets TV, Are the Results Worth Watching?
My wife watches Korean dramas on the internet. One of the sites had some type of feature where they embedded fan comments, possibly from Twitter, into a subtitle-like track. I only caught a glimpse, but this seemed like one of the worst ideas ever. It really caught my attention because suddenly, the word "BITCH" was scrolling across the screen.
While I could see some benefit to "sharing" like this with other viewers, the content would need so much moderation to filter out all of the garbage, trolls, and "me too"-like comments to make it worthwhile, but maybe this is a generational thing.
top LinkedIn Profiles Contain Fewer Lies Than Resumes
I used to work with a graphic designer, who eventually got his MBA and was given the chance to do some project management while he was attending evening classes. We lost touch over the years, but I was looking at his profile recently. Apparently, rather than doing graphic design and getting a chance to dabble in project management, he was the head of the IT Development Department. This position was almost 10 years ago, but he probably used this lie to as he was making his switch-over.
I know LinkedIn has tools to recommend people, but do they have tools to call people out for lying? And then do you engage in a lie-war? i.e., My online profile is accurate, but if I were to call him out, what is to prevent him from starting to try to protect his image and claim stuff on my profile is inaccurate as retaliation?
In the grand scheme of things, it's so old now that no one would care any more, but still kind of bugs me.
top HP Spent Over $80M To Get Rid of Its CEOs
I was always under the assumption it was for a few reasons:
- The former-CEO doesn't share the company's secrets with competitors (not sure if there would be some kind of non-compete clause) or create a competing company. - It allows them to try to attract someone else. While you would think it would be a high risk/high reward situation ("save this troubled company, and you will be richly rewarded, if you don't you get nothing"), perhaps they are scared of scaring people off if they have a reputation for not paying out, which kind of makes sense from the perspective of someone who would consider coming in. - The people that sit on these boards are all friendly with each other, share similar work/social circles. So, they are just rewarding their circle, and it will eventually come back to them. They're kind of paying it forward with other people's money. I remember reading an article several years ago that discussed diversity on boards. This article claimed that there were instances where an individual might be on multiple boards (not sure if this is possible), but a single woman or African American might be on several boards, and this gives a greater perception of diversity from the outside, but the truth is there are fewer people on these boards and those that are on the boards probably think along similar lines.
Just a few thoughts.
top Ask Slashdot: CS Grads Taking IT Jobs?
I think taking an IT administration job could potentially hurt you, if you really want to be doing development. While it's possible you'd learn some skills that would be useful, you wouldn't be gaining experience in the core area you're interested in, and more importantly, skills that potential employers are interested in. So, you are delaying skills you could be learning to help you down what you are thinking is your preferred career path.
There are also some times that development and administration kind of butt heads. This really depends on your environment, as I've had really great working relationships with some admins, and others who think your code is ruining their systems. So, that could potentially cause some issues if you ever decide you want to transition.
Another concern is salary. If you do well in your IT/Admin position, it's possible you'd get raises and promotions. This will make it harder for you to give up the money and take an entry-level development job, if the money difference is large. That's the classic story I've heard for COBOL developers. They want to transition to Java, but an entry level Java position pays a lot less that their 20+ years of COBOL experience, so they stick with COBOL.
There's nothing wrong with being selective if you can afford to be right now. And it's also possible you could go into IT administration and find that you really enjoy it.
top Mr. President, There Is No (US) Engineer Shortage
We need a system like sports teams have. The coach might be a fat slob and not necessarily the best player in his career. The star players get rewarded commensurate with their skills. The coach is rewarded for the ability to hold the whole thing together. But those are separate skill sets and often its the bad coach that gets sacked more often than the players.
Be careful what you wish for...
I've often joked with people that the normal workplace would be a lot more interesting if it were run like a professional sports team. Some examples:
- Everyone's salary is public knowledge. This will do wonders for productivity and cooperation. Have you ever seen players hold out? Or start under-performing because they're upset that someone else is getting paid more?
- What if your superstar doesn't like you because you didn't write some how he thought it should be written, since he's such a genius? Well, he'll just stop performing until management decides to fire/trade you.
- "We traded 3 Java developers and a System Administrator for an Oracle DBA, 3 interns, and a graphic designer to be named later."
Also, how will you evaluate who your stars are? In some cases, it's pretty obvious. But in others, it might just be a matter of who the manager likes best. There are plenty of cases in pro sports where a good player is buried on the bench, only for everyone to realize how good they are later after they're on a new team or the coach was fired. Or what about the case of someone who has very good stats on a horrible team? This guy writes *tons* of code, but the projects never finish.
top Starz To Pull Content From Netflix
Just to play Devil's Advocate, there are a lot of services now that let you rent and then stream/download the movie. I know Amazon does this, and there's some service on the PS3, too. The biggest catch is "reasonable price." Unfortunately, what you personally want to pay and what studios want to charge are obviously not in synch right now, and it's possible they never will be.
top Starz To Pull Content From Netflix
The Roku 2 supports subtitles for Netflix. Of course, the titles have to have subtitles in the first place, but that seems to be constantly improving.
I own an original Roku, and I was debating buying a Roku 2 for the subtitles. I'm going to wait to see how their streaming library changes down the road. I also own a PS3, which supports subtitles, so if you've got that or an XBox360, maybe that'll work for you.
top Apple's Chinese Suppliers Accused of Causing Significant Environmental Damage
Let's face the facts. Only *China* can take care of pollution in China.
I have some in-laws in South Korea. They've said that there is a yellow dust (smog? Something else?) that blows from China into South Korea. So, their pollution issues has an impact not only on themselves, but their neighbors as well. China isn't the only one guilty of this, but they're probably considered one of the worst offenders of this
top Netflix Deflects Rage Over Price Increase
So, I'll preface this by saying I'm probably a bit of an outlier since I'm on a more expensive plan. I was on the 6 DVD a month plan (with free unlimited). I switched to this plan a few months ago when my wife and I started watching more TV shows. We just wanted to make sure we had the next disc ready to go as we were tearing through multiple seasons of a TV series (
Supernatural, in case you were curious).
Anyway, the price for us actually dropped. It dropped by less than a dollar, but I was still pretty surprised. I was expecting a big price gouge. Perhaps they've been presenting this process incorrectly. I seem to recall they started adding "free" streaming to accounts a while back. Maybe they should have done a better job of explaining that streaming would be free for a while, and then give people the option of paying for it once it was no longer free.
top Facebook Locks Down Social Gift Giving Patent
I seem to recall my wife mentioning to me several years ago that Cyworld, a Korean web portal/social engineering site, offered some level of gift-giving (don't know specifics). Facebook is just using its imaginary money to put up sandbags against potential competitors.
top Robots Retrieve Your Books At U. Chicago's $81 Million Library
The students at the U of C are not about getting good grades and passing courses to get good jobs. They are about discovering and creating and investigating things that no one else has thought of yet. It's a research institution, not a tech school. And I wish we had more like it.
As a graduate of the University of Chicago, I'd have to say that, like many things, the perception is very different from reality. I'd say the vast majority of the student body, like at every school, are pretty average. It's not an environment that stirs intellectual discussion. If anything, it's a rather depressing environment where the vast majority of the people *are* obsessed with getting good grades, so they can get a good job or go to a good grad school. Which should be perfectly fine, but I think a lot of students there take it a little too far and feel they need every competitive advantage against people in their classes. It just makes for a very cutthroat environment, where people don't necessarily believe in collaboration or working together.
The amazing research the university is known for is really more the realm of the faculty, who are more focused on their own research and generally look at teaching as a necessary evil they have to deal with in order to continue their research. You're not going to be exposed to these amazing concepts and ideas. You're going to learn what's in the textbook.
I *do* think that some of the liberals arts courses the university offers can be very interesting and probably attracts a slightly different type of student, but outside of that realm, it'll be pretty dry (sciences, math, economics, pre-med, pre-law folks).
top Ask Slashdot: Would You Take a Pay Cut To Telecommute?
I know most folks would jump at the opportunity to telecommute. I've been lucky, as my current workplace is very flexible and allows people to work from home at their own discretion with project manager approval. Some managers are very loose with it and only care if you are getting work done and can be reached through reasonable means. Other prefer that you're in the office, but make allowances under special circumstances.
Now, I absolutely love the flexibility, but there is something that would be missed if we moved to a full telecommute model. There are plenty of times when you might overhear a co-worker discussing a problem or perhaps a solution. You might be able to provide some insight or a solution to them. It saves them a ton of time, and it gets you some respect points with your peers. And obviously it works both ways, where someone else might help you at at some point.
In a pure telecommuting environment, you'd probably miss out on some of those incidentals. Although there are some that would argue that you'd also decrease the amount of distractions, which can definitely be true. So, there are good and bad points. Just playing a little devil's advocate.
top Feds Discover 1,000 More Government Data Centers
You might be surprised. I worked for about 2 years in a Federal agency. The person I replaced as a contractor was a federal employee and had been fired for looking at pornography on the job.
Two years later, the managers were still going to court hearings with union reps to discuss the matter. Seemed like a colossal waste of time, but that's the federal government (and their unions) at work. As much as is publicized about government waste, the true story is much, much worse that you could ever imagine, and also a lot more depressing/disheartening.
top Pope's Astronomer Would Love To Baptize an Alien
Haven't read the article yet, but I'm curious why there isn't more discussion on his comment about intelligent design:
Consolmagno dismisses the ideas of intelligent design as a pseudo-scientific version of creationism. 'The word has been hijacked by a narrow group of creationist fundamentalists in America to mean something it didn't originally mean at all. It's another form of the God of the gaps. It's bad theology in that it turns God once again into the pagan god of thunder and lightning.'"
I know the general Slashdot community looks down on religion, but it'd be nice to see greater distinction between fundamentalists and Christians who are probably generally more in the moderate realm. Unfortunately, when most people hear "Christian," the automatic response is to think that the person is a fundamentalist.
top Cyberwarrior Shortage Threatens US Security
I remember looking into some Information Assurance type programs a few years ago, as the buzz about this field (especially in the government sector) was beginning to pick up (or at least when I first became aware of it). Some of these programs cost about $50,000 USD a year. It was just too expensive in my eyes. Perhaps that's just become the cost of private higher education, but that doesn't make it easier to accept. I don't recall what the starting salaries for these types of specialists were, though.
The other concern I'd have is that a lot of organizations receiving security audits would probably not be too cooperative. We all know that government work isn't always the most attractive, and one of the challenges they face are attracting people to interesting work, not being trapped for years in a political maze.
Perhaps high enough salaries can attract more talent, but they'd still lose out on plenty of people because of the environment. And having worked in Federal IT for a bit, it's a black hole of money and productivity. I'm sure there will be plenty of individuals and companies scrambling for their piece of this pie, but I wonder how much of a difference they'll actually make (besides to their own bottom lines)?
top Working for the Federal Government?
I'm going to turn 28 soon, and it's suddenly hit me... thinking about a change in careers... I've been working in internet development the past 4 years, and I've enjoyed it immensely, but I've started wondering, "is this really all there is?"
My job has been able to provide me with a good income, and, while my finances are skewed a little bit too much towards entertainment, I'm in good shape overall.
I have an undergraduate degree in Public Policy, and the Federal government is in need of tech workers, both in management and actual techies in the trenches... but I've only heard negatives about the government from techies... stories about old technology, beauracracy, lazy co-workers (not that the govt would have a monopoly on this one), etc. People I know in liberal arts think that working for the government would be a great idea...
So, what better decision than to put the question before a bunch of strangers on the internet? What do people think about working for the Federal government?